Foghorn requiem to be performed at Tyneside lighthouse

If you're sailing on the North East coast of England this June make your way to South Shields and take part in a unique musical project celebrating the foghorn.

A specially composed Foghorn Requiem is to be performed at Souther Lighthouse, South Shields on 22 June, with the backing of three North East brass bands and the ships horns of a flotilla of vessels positioned offshore.

Vessels taking part do not need to have a loud ship horn as the organisers will supply specialist equipment for the day and, ideally, organisers would like those participating to be anchored off the coast at South Shields by June 21st. Vessels can also participate by taking part in a sail-by on the day, so long as the organisers have been informed. All ships crews are invited to a land-based celebration after the event.

The Foghorn Requiem is unique in being the first musical score created for foghorns and also using pioneering technology to conduct and control ships horns from afar. Vessels at sea will sound their horns to a musical score that will take into account climatic conditions, the landscape and distance from the shore.

Foghorn Requiem is a project by artists Lise Autogena and Joshua Portway, commissioned by South Tyneside Council and the National Trust - which took over the running of Souter Lighthouse following its decommissioning in 1988 - and the musical score has been written by celebrated British composer Orlando Gough.

The project has secured funding from Arts Council England, Danish Arts Council and the Festival of the North East and vessels from maritime organisations including the RNLI, Port of Tyne, Port of Sunderland, Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority, Ocean Youth Trust North, Svitzer Marine and the North East Maritime Trust are among those already taking part.

“We’re really excited to have so many sectors of the maritime community taking part and it would be great to hear from even more,” said project originator Lise Autogena.
“Whether you’re the skipper of a large commercial vessel, a small pleasure craft or a spectacular tall ship we’d love you to come along and you can be sure of a great welcome.”

Opened in 1871, Souter was the first lighthouse in the world designed and built to be powered by electricity, with its foghorn kept in working condition by a dedicated team of local volunteers.

The event will be the highlight of a month-long Festival of the North East held to celebrate and raise awareness of the social and cultural heritage of the region and organisers are calling for regional, national and international vessels of all sizes, ages and types to participate.

For more information about the Foghorn Requiem or to take part call 07738 953116, email rhollinshead@gritandpearl.co.uk, or visit www.foghornrequiem.org
For details about events and activities in South Tyneside this summer and throughout the Festival of the North-East visit www.southtynesidecouncil.co.uk.